Russia strikes barracks, munitions warehouse; dozens of Ukrainian soldiers killed

Ukrainian service members stand beside a damaged building in a residential area after shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 18. Photo by Vladyslav Musiienko/UPI

March 19 (UPI) — Dozens of Ukrainian troops were killed Saturday in a missile strike on army barracks in Mykolaiv, local officials said.

At least 45 soldiers were killed in the Russian strike, BBC News reported.

Rescue operations took place at the scene of the missile strike of the barrack housing soldiers in the southern Ukrainian city and strategic Black Sea port of Mykolaiv, the region’s Gov. Vitalli Kim told CNN.

CNN’s Swedish affiliate Expressen reported that two Russian fighter jets dropped around five bombs on the buildings around 6 a.m.

A video filmed by Expressen showed rescuers pulling one Ukrainian solider alive from the wreckage.

Another survivor, identified only as 54-year-old soldier Serhill, told Expressen “of the approximately 200 who were there, I would guess about 90% did not survive.”

“Glass flew everywhere,” Nikita, a 22-year-old soldier whose first name was only given, told Expressen. “I prayed to God that I would have time to take shelter before bombs came. There are always more bombs.”

Mykolaiv has been a critical target for Russian forces on the ground as they move to capture Ukraine’s third largest city, Odesa, further west along the coast.

The Russian military, meanwhile, said it destroyed a military ammunition warehouse in the village of Delyatin using Kinzhal missiles Friday.

Overnight, there was also attack targeting an aircraft repair plant near the western city of Lviv, which has been receiving hundreds of refugees from Mariupol in the south. No casualties were reported.

BBC News reported Mariupol is expected to fall after being battered by shelling for weeks under siege. Authorities said 130 people have been rescued from the bomb shelter under the city’s theatre that was attacked two days ago, but hundreds more may be trapped in the rubble.

Still, Russia has been “surprised by the scale and ferocity of Ukrainian resistance,” the British Defense Ministry said in its latest update.

The Russian military has been “forced to change its operational approach and is now pursuing a strategy of attrition,” the update added. “This is likely to involve the indiscriminate use of firepower resulting in increased civilian casualties, destruction of Ukrainian infrastructure, and intensify the humanitarian crisis.”

The British Defense Ministry also said in the update that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “reinforced his control over Russian domestic media,” in attempt to “obscure high Russian casualty numbers.”


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